That said, Bay Area real estate is a seasonal business. Typically, each year begins with a slowdown in the winter months of January and February, picks up in the spring, and reaches a peak in the late spring and early summer months, with the highest levels of inventory available in April, May, June and July. The market usually cools during the late summer vacation season, before picking up again in a fall spike in September and October. November and December, with the holidays, tend to be much quieter months lending into the winter slowdown, with the cycle continuing again the following year.
We’ve found that there are pros and cons to buying in “slow’ vs. “peak” seasons. In the winter and late summer slowdowns, there’s likely less inventory for buyers to choose from, but there’s also typically not as much competition from other buyers in the market, which sometimes means buyers can snap up a prime property in a less intense bidding environment. Conversely, in the prime summer and late fall peaks, buyers typically have more inventory to choose from, and an increase in supply can help soften pricing for available properties, but more buyers in the market often triggers aggressive bidding, which means that properties are more likely to sell for a higher premium above list price.
The bottom line: the right time to buy is whenever you’re ready.